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Tacoma: Mayor to offer recommendation for outside investigator in Zina case

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
May 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Mayor Marilyn Strickland plans to offer details this afternoon for an outside investigation of the Tacoma Police Department’s handling of the Zina Linnik case.

“I’ll have a recommendation of a very strong candidate that has the ability to be fair and unbiased in this investigation,” Strickland told me after the council’s noon study session today.

The details will come at the council’s 3 p.m. Committee of the Whole, the mayor said.

For the past few weeks, Strickland has been working with the City Attorney’s office in trying to find candidates to lead a third-party probe of the city’s investigation of 12-year-old Hilltop resident Zina Linnik’s abduction and murder in 2007.

Last month, The News Tribune revealed new details about how the city’s Amber Alert for Zina was partially delayed because Officer Mark Fulghum fell back to sleep instead of issuing the alert as requested.  Police Chief Don Ramsdell later apologized to the newspaper for not divulging those details during his department’s previous public responses about why it took some 12 hours to issue the Amber Alert.

The City Council initially announced it would take no further action in the matter, and City Manager Eric Anderson said he would not pursue any disciplinary action against either Fulghum or Ramsdell.

But after the TNT filed a request for Fulghum’s pay records from the day of the alert — which showed he was on “stand-by duty” at the time of his slumber — Anderson announced he reprimanded the chief and would ask for an internal investigation of Fulghum. He and Strickland also said the city would seek the outside probe of the entire Zina investigation.

Strickland has said “anyone who touched this case” — including Anderson and the City Attorney’s office — could be part of the probe.

We’ll post more details on the investigation after they become available.

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